Saturday, March 28, 2009

Setting up for a shave

Sam reads the measuring devise as he lines the middle eccentric up with the boring head. The rig looks more like a 21st century robot arm that's been attached to a 19th century drilling head.

"This machine is not the daintiest thing to run," said Sam Thompson.

He struggled to line the middle eccentric up with the boring head. Sam's main concern was to line the eccentric on vertical and horizontal planes, or pitch and yawl, as he calls it. Otherwise, the eccentric won't line up properly with the crankshaft, said Sam.

His goal is to shave about one and one-half hundredths of an inch from the interior bore on the middle eccentric. Sam finished the job today. The test comes next Saturday when he re-fits the eccentric onto the crankshaft.

Sam used a series of shims and wedges -- "whatever I could find" -- to line the eccentric up with the boring head.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Now that spring is here ...

The past two weeks have been slow at the engine house of the El Dorado Western Railway. After a years-worth of activity this winter, all of our volunteers took last Saturday off.

Until now, the engine house and machine shop have been busy places, considering it was the middle of winter. Unusually dry weather and an abundance of projects gave us to expand work days to include Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.

Weekday volunteers Alberto Weiss, Mark Bruto, Marcus Hodge , Keith Berry and Wayne Thorley gave us the ability to work on multiple projects. Saturday volunteers San Thompson, John Rodgers, Bill Rodgers, Jacob Karoly and Steve Karoly (Steve also works on Fridays) rounded the crew.

It seems that we all decided to take a day off with springs approach. Sam ran up to Oregon for the 5th annual Pacific Model Loggers' Congress at the Camp 18 Restaurant Logging Museum, in Elsie, Oregon. (We do allow our volunteers to take railroad-related field trips on occasion!)

Keith was out of town on business while Steve attended a training class for work and visited the grandkids in the Bay Area. And Bill had to install some new equipment at his job. The others took advantage of the absence of leadership and enjoyed a free Saturday.

Now that spring officially yesterday, the crew is ready to get back into action. I'm sure I'll have more to report soon.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Shaving a bit at a time

"I'm trying to decide whether to put it on the lathe or horizontal boring mill," said lead machinist Sam Thompson. Harold Tilton and Sam dropped the crankshaft and removed the eccentric on Saturday, February 28, because it didn't fit properly.

Sam spent Saturday morning recalculating his next series of cuts on the middle eccentric to the Diamond and Caldor No. 4. He figures he must to remove one-thousands of an inch from the eccentrics bore to make it fit onto the crankshaft.

"It's going to be a cut-and-fit process," said Sam. The challenge will come when Sam tries to mount the eccentric on the lathe. He expects it to take several Saturdays.

In the picture, Sam uses railway's No. 2 rotary head milling machine to shave a thin layer of metal out of the key slot on the middle eccentric.